The Weird and Wacky Things You Can Claim On Your Tax Return

This is the second in a three-part series on tax filing that looks at how business owners can maximize their tax savings. Here’s the first part.

It’s nearly the end of the tax year, and that can only mean one thing; it’s almost time to lodge your tax return.

Sure, it can be a stressful and time-consuming chore to get all your receipts together, even more so if you then choose to lodge your return yourself rather than using an accountant. Still, the chances are at the end of it, you’ll get a nice refund cheque back from the ATO to spend on your next holiday or to pay down your debt.

The key to maximising that refund is to make sure you claim all the deductions you’re entitled to. Most of those will relate to things you’ve purchased as part of your job or business. The general rule is that if a purchase is made to enable you to earn income or to operate your business, you can claim a deduction. Some of those deductions will be obvious, but some could be just a bit unusual….

Can you seriously claim a tax deduction for your pet pooch? Well, probably not. But there are circumstances where a deductible dog could be a real possibility.  If your business uses a guard dog to keep your premises secure, a dog is indeed deductible. It’s regarded as a capital asset of the business, and you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost using the very generous temporary full expensing tax break. Obviously, it needs to be a dog suitable for the purpose; a poodle is unlikely to cut it. The same logic applies to dogs on a farm, such as a sheepdog.

If you’re a professional performer (actor, musician, dancer, magician, circus performer, etc), there are all manner of strange deductions which you might look at claiming. Mime lessons? Absolutely. The cost of ceremonial swords? Certainly, if you’re a professional sword swallower. Acting classes, dance classes, musical instruments, magic tricks….if you make a living on stage or screen, a whole world of odd and interesting claims opens up to you.

Most offices these days have an array of pretty pictures dotted about the place, often in customer focussed spaces like reception areas and meeting rooms. Using the temporary full expensing tax break, you could be looking at an immediate tax deduction for your business for that fine canvas you’ve had your eye on. Just make sure it really is used in your business.

If the ATO finds out that the picture you claimed was in your office reception area is really hanging in your lounge room at home, your business will lose the deduction and end up paying more tax plus some interest and penalties! Again, provided they are used in a business context (perhaps as part of a communal recreation room in a factory or office), they should be deductible. If you just plan to put them in your own rumpus room at home, however, forget it!

It’s well established that you can claim a deduction for the tools you use in your trade. But depending on what your trade is, your tools could be very different to the hammers, spanners and drills usually claimed. If you work in the adult industry, you could be looking at a deduction for sex toys, lube, and “accessories”. You can only claim the business use element of course; if you use them in your personal activities, forget the tax deduction.

If you’re an exotic dancer, you could even consider a deduction for fake breasts; whilst we’re not aware of anybody making such a claim in Australia, it’s been successfully done in the USA, and there’s no reason in principle why it couldn’t be done under our law. Expect an awkward conversation with the ATO if you try it though. The key to claiming any tax deduction is to keep records such as invoices, receipts and bank statements.

If you are claiming something unusual, expect to be challenged by the ATO but if the way you earn your assessable income is aligned with the items you’ve claimed a deduction for, you should be OK, no matter how strange it is. And one final piece of advice; if in doubt about what you can claim, talk to a tax adviser at H&R Block, who’ll be able to give you specific guidance on your situation.

By: Mark Chapman

Source: The weird and wacky things you can claim on your tax return

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See various ways to save money as well as how to save on taxes. Keep more of your money! Then, prepare your current year return on eFile.com and see how well your tax planning and saving went during the year – eFileIT.

Read below for various real-life scenarios to claim a tax break you may not have thought of.

  • Pets: There are some notable expenses you may be able to deduct relating to pets or animals:
  • Moving Expenses: If you lost your job and are relocating to start a new job, these moving expenses are tax deductible if you are an active duty military member or if you are an employee who has reimbursed expenses dated before January 1, 2019 and did not claim them on a prior tax return. The expense of moving your cat, dog, bird, or other pet from your old to new home is treated the same as moving your other personal properties.
  • Guard dog: If you have a dog that watched over your business location, pet care costs may be deductible as business expenses.
  • Pest control: A cat or other animal that keeps your business free of pests may come with deductible pet care expenses.
  • Foster or shelter volunteering: fostering animals may be eligible for charitable contributions and volunteer mileage is generally tax deductible.
  • Farming: the IRS may allow you to depreciate your farm animals as they age if they are used for breeding. The IRS once allowed a Louisiana farmer to depreciate the costs for his ostrich.
  • Service animal: expenses for a service animal may be deductible as medical expenses.
  • Cat Food Expenses: Under certain conditions, the cost of cat food might be considered a legitimate deductible expense. A junkyard owner bought cat food to attract local stray cats in order to drive away mice and rats. He claimed it as a business expense and it was approved by the IRS. The average house cat will likely not qualify because the cat would need to perform some task associated with the upkeep of a business.
  • Parenting, Lifestyle, Home:
  • Clarinet Lessons: A parent was able to deduct the expenses for clarinet lessons for her child because she claimed it corrected her child’s overbite. This was based on a 1962 case where an orthodontist argued that playing the clarinet helps correct a child’s overbite, thus allowing it to be claimed as a medical expense.
  • Babysitter Expenses: A mother claimed her babysitter expenses as a deduction because she was performing charitable deeds while she was away from her child. This would mean that you pay somebody to look after your child while you perform volunteer work for a charity. In this case, the tax court rejected and overruled an IRS revenue ruling when, despite not having the money go directly to a charity, a parent used the baby sitter expense as a charitable contribution while volunteering for a charity.
  • Leftover Wedding or Party Items: donated leftover decorations, food, flowers, or attire can be donated and may be deductible.
  • Family Wages Deduction: if you run a family business, wages you pay your kids may be deductible as business expenses.
  • Legitimate Business Expenses:
  • Cost of Body Oil: For one bodybuilder, it worked. He claimed a deduction for the cost of body oil that he used in competitions. The IRS didn’t seem to have any problem with this as it was a legitimate business expense.
  • Cost of Breast Implants: In 1994, one erotic dancer’s attempt to get more tips led her to undergo breast augmentation surgery. She then proceeded to deduct the expense from her taxes. A tax court judge ruled in favor of the dancer, stating that the implants were a stage prop, and thus a legitimate work expense that can be deducted.
  • Lawn Care Expenses: These expenses might be deductible, but your house will have to be your workplace and the state of your lawn would have to have relevance to the performance of your business. In one situation, a sole proprietor successfully deducted lawn care expenses as business expenses because he met his clients in his home office.
  • Private Airplane Expenses: A couple owned and rented out a condo that was a 7 hour drive away from their primary residence. To save time and money, they bought a private airplane and were able to deduct airplane expenses, like fuel and depreciation for business use, for the property management trips to their condo. However, it turned out that the expenses increased the overall loss on the rental condo.
  • Business Trips: Any business trip viewed as “ordinary and necessary” to the course of doing business by the IRS is eligible for a travel expense deduction. In one case, the owner of a dairy took a trip to Africa to conduct research on wild animals, and successfully claimed it as a business expense because it was relevant to his business.
  • Whaling Boat Repairs: Whaling boats need repairs and, since 2004, captains of whaling boats can deduct up to $10,000 for repairs, equipment purchases, and other expenses associated with the business. However, starting a whaling business to claim a deduction is not a smart move. Whaling is banned by the United States government and only certain Native American tribes are allowed to engage in it.
  • Medical Expenses:
  • Swimming Pool Costs: If you have a medical condition that would improve with a swimming pool exercise regimen, your swimming pool expenses might qualify as a deductible medical expense. This happened in the case of an arthritis patient who was prescribed to swim regularly in order to treat his condition. He installed a swimming pool on his property and deducted the expenses from his taxes. After some investigation, the IRS approved the deduction, but if the pool were used for recreational purposes, it wouldn’t have been approved.
  • Sex-Change Operation Expenses: A man who was diagnosed with gender-identity disorder (he felt he was a woman trapped in a male body) wanted to deduct almost $22,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses for various surgeries—including hormone therapy, sexual-reassignment surgeries, and breast augmentation—in order to become a woman. The tax court decided that the hormone therapy and the sex-change operation in the amount of $14,500 was a qualified medical tax deduction. However, the expenses for the breast augmentation was not; it was deemed nondeductible cosmetic surgery by the court.
  • Medical Expenses to Quit Smoking: You might qualify to deduct expenses for smoking cessation programs, nicotine patches, stop-smoking aides, and other programs geared towards stopping smoking.
  • Costs for Getting in Shape: Weight-loss expenses may be deductible if a doctor signs off on it and claims that your life might be in danger if you don’t start exercising and lose weight. The cost for remedies that help you drop a few pounds, improve your heart rate, or reduce your cholesterol might all be deductible.

These people saved money by claiming deductions and taking advantage of tax breaks. Now, here are some more practical ways to save money on your taxes.

Strange Tax Breaks from Across the U.S. and Around the World

Find state specific tax breaks below as well as other stories from the United Sates and countries with their own tax codes.

  • States: many states have their own tax code which are often full of bizarre tax deductions and other rules.
  • In Wisconsin, cloth diapers are not subject to sales tax, but disposable diapers are.
  • In Texas, cowboy boots are exempt from the sales tax, but hiking boots are not.
  • In Ohio, a corpse in a mortuary gets makeup applied on it without getting taxed, but a living person is taxed for the makeup that gets applied in a beauty salon.
  • In South Carolina, one can get a $50 deduction if they donate a dead deer to the poor.
  • In Maryland, oyster farmers get a tax break, but those who farm other types of shellfish don’t.
  • Hawaii gives a $3,000 tax deduction to those who grow state-approved trees.
  • People who were persecuted by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 were exempt from taxes in California (learn more about the history of taxes in United States).
  • A business owner bought a racehorse and claimed it as a business expense. No, he was not in the horse-racing business; he claimed that he needed to entertain his clients and that a racehorse would do just that. The economic stimulus package allowed for a tax deduction as large as $25,000 to be claimed for buying a racehorse, but the deal expired without creating many new purchases.
  • In one case, the use of a yacht was deducted as a business expense because the owner tried to impress his customers and encourage them to do business. Maintenance and cleaning of the yacht, however, was not allowed to be deducted because the IRS code prohibits it.
  • One man who owned several properties hired his girlfriend to manage them. She looked for furniture for the houses, made sure the proper repairs were made, and managed his home. He was able to deduct $2,500 of the $9,000 he paid her as a business expense.
  • A dentist submitted fraudulent insurance claims. When the fraud was discovered, she was ordered to pay the money back as well as serve some time in jail. However, she was able to deduct her repayment to the insurance company as a business expense. That is because the repayment was done to compensate for a loss sustained by the insurance company and therefore was not considered a fine.
  • A man was arrested for drunk driving after he wrecked his car; he had waited to sober up—but obviously not for long enough. His insurance company refused to compensate him for the wrecked car because he broke the law. The driver, however, was able to deduct the cost of his car as a casualty loss because he acted reasonably. If he hadn’t waited to sober up, then it would have been gross negligence and thus nondeductible.
  • In 1981, a drug dealer from the Minneapolis area was caught in possession of large amounts of cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana. He was arrested and later audited; the tax audit found that he owed $17,000 in taxes. The drug dealer argued that he should be able to deduct a significant amount of the back taxes as business costs incurred by running his business from his home. He was successful in getting a deduction, but still went to jail for drug possession.
  • A man working for a graphic design agency bought a pair of skis from Yamaha Snowmobiles, a company for which he was making a catalog. He used the company discount and then successfully deducted the skis as a business research expense.
  • A hair stylist successfully deducted the entire cost of her wardrobe that she wore while working with her clients as a business expense.
  • Across the world: various countries abide by their own tax code which has certain odd rules.
  • In Germany, one can deduct bribes. While the deduction is seldom used, it does exist as part of the tax code. All one has to do to report it is disclose their name and the name of the official that they bribed.
  • The United Kingdom gives tax breaks to video game companies that create “culturally British” games. The criteria for being culturally British is not very clear; the game must score a minimum of 16 out of 31 points on a test that has been designed to measure the cultural content and contribution of the game.
  • In the Netherlands, those who study and practice witchcraft can claim a tax break given out by the government. It has existed for quite some time, but in 2005 it gained the attention of the public after a judge upheld the tax break in court.
  • During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, stadiums and businesses in the immediate area surrounding them were exempt from the value added tax as well as the income tax from profits. This allowed FIFA to keep more of the money for itself. Critics did not care for this measure, however, as it deprived the government of South Africa of tax revenue associated with the World Cup matches.
  • In Italy, almost a third of all men over 30 still live at home. To encourage them to move out, the government issued a 1,000 euro tax break to those who rent their homes. However, the problem is considered to be tied to the difficult job market in Italy that prevents young men from obtaining jobs that will support their independent lifestyles. Critics say it’s unlikely that the tax break will encourage many young Italian men to move out on their own.

Related contents:

How much will tax cuts save me? Has this economic strategy worked elsewhere? Will interest rates ever return to level… Sky News

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Green Tax Break Syndicated Easements Face IRS Scrutiny

Jack Fisher has raised hundreds of millions of dollars pitching investors on real estate development projects that were never built. Fisher, an accountant-turned-developer, promoted projects such as the Preserve at Venice Harbor, near Hilton Head, S.C., where marketing illustrations showed houses on canals that evoked the famous Italian city. Instead of developing the land, he recruited investors to elaborate deals that provided them charitable tax deductions in return for donating easements for conservation.

The Internal Revenue Service, however, suspects the deals may amount to tax fraud. Fisher is at the center of a criminal probe related to these syndicated conservation easements, according to people familiar with the details, who requested anonymity to discuss a confidential matter. The investigation has already led to tax conspiracy charges against three accountants who worked with him.

A syndicated conservation easement gives dozens of investors in partnerships three choices: to build a specific development project; to hold on to the land and build later; or to donate an easement to a land trust or government, promising to forgo development. The third option entitles investors to charitable tax deductions, based on the appraised value of the land, that can be worth four or five times their investment.

Easements have been used—legitimately, and mostly by family partnerships and individuals like farmers—for decades as part of a federal push to preserve more than 30 million acres of land. Those aren’t the focus of an IRS crackdown. Instead, it’s going after promoters like Fisher who sell deals through brokers, accountants, lawyers, and tax preparers, and who market the projects that generate large tax deductions. The IRS has made these an enforcement priority, suing some promoters to shut them down and criminally investigating others.

California conservation lawyer Misti Schmidt says a typical syndicated easement used by wealthy investors is an “ugly tax-shelter scheme” that relies on grossly overvalued appraisals. “There’s so much money to be made, they just keep doing it,” says Schmidt, a partner at Conservation Partners.

Those appraisals are at the center of the legal fight around syndicated easements. Before an easement donation is made, an appraiser assigns it a value based on its highest and best use. That number is then used to calculate the tax deductions. The IRS often argues that those appraisals vastly inflate the development potential of a property, and that promoters use those valuations to market lucrative tax deductions.

Two of Fisher’s associates, the brothers Stein and Corey Agee, pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to promote fraudulent tax breaks and are cooperating with prosecutors. Although Fisher wasn’t charged or named in the Agee cases, he’s referred to as Promoter A in court documents, the people familiar with the details say. Documents reviewed by Bloomberg confirm Fisher’s role in the deals. Lawyers for Fisher didn’t respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment.

In the Stein Agee case, prosecutors say the deals were “illegal tax shelters that allowed taxpayers to buy tax deductions,” according to the charges. Appraisals were “falsely inflated,” while the conservation option was “always a foregone conclusion.” Many investors signed up after the tax year in which easements were donated, prosecutors say, even though the IRS allows deductions only in the same year a donation is made. Promoter A and others had investors backdate checks and agreements, according to the charges.

“Promoter A’s tax shelters resulted in a massive evasion of taxes,” the charges state. In all, more than 1,500 investors received $1.2 billion in fraudulent tax deductions, prosecutors said. At one point, Promoter A told Stein Agee that he met with several co-conspirators to make sure they were on the “same page” about late investments, according to the charges. Promoter A proposed that Agee could falsely suggest that backdated checks weren’t deposited because they were “lost” on someone’s desk. Lawyers for the Agees declined to comment.

Nationwide, the IRS has challenged $21 billion in tax deductions claimed for syndicated easements from 2016 to 2018, saying it’s auditing 28,000 taxpayers. Former President Donald Trump has donated several easements, including two under scrutiny by New York state authorities.

“The IRS fully supports the benefit of legitimate conservation easements around this country,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told Congress in March. “It has done tremendous things for farmers and others. Our problem is with the abusive syndicated easements.”

The IRS crackdown comes amid a battle in Congress that pits conservation groups and national appraisal organizations against promoters of syndicated easements. Conservation groups want legislation that would bar investors from claiming deductions worth more than two and a half times their initial investment. Promoters have been blocking that fix for years.

“The IRS’s current take-no-prisoners litigation strategy is also going after minor technical flaws that arise in all easements, not just syndications,” says Schmidt, the conservation lawyer. “Legitimate easements are now getting disallowed.”

Fisher, who’s in his late 60s, grew up on a small-town farm in Marshall, N.C., and still speaks in a soft Southern drawl. The son of a truck driver and homemaker, he graduated with a degree in accounting from nearby Mars Hill College in 1974 before joining the IRS. Fisher then became a certified public accountant, worked for Price Waterhouse, and joined a firm that moved him to Atlanta to work with the National Football League’s Falcons.

Later, he took a job at an accounting firm with the Agee brothers’ father, Edward Agee. “I got a lot of good experience,” Fisher testified at a trial after a real estate broker sued him, claiming the developer owed him a commission. Fisher said he met people who “could refer you to business: bankers and things like that.”

He got into development by auditing construction companies, and later began assembling his own investment deals, founding Preserve Communities about two decades ago.

Fisher was adept at raising money, says Anthony Antonino, a real estate consultant who helped with the sale of 800 acres in North Carolina for $14.75 million to entities controlled by Fisher and a wealthy investor. “Jack knows where the money’s at, and he knows how to get it,” Antonino says.

Some of Fisher’s wealthy investors were involved in equestrian events, say people familiar with the matter. His family owned a 40-acre show stable in Alpharetta, Ga., according to a 2013 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His then-wife, Libba, and two of their children won several titles competing in elite hunter and jumper events, according to records maintained by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.

He was a hands-on developer, says Mark Brooks, a civil engineer who helped Fisher build projects. “He was out there walking the roads and figuring out site lots,” Brooks says. “He was real proud when he did the developments. He felt he was doing things to help out Madison County, which was a pretty poor county.”

He also branched out to the Western U.S., buying a 1,088-acre ranch near Reno, Nev. In late 2018 a Georgia corporation Fisher formed donated an easement covering 812 acres to the North American Land Trust. Investors got $51.2 million in deductions, according to court filings. They put up $10 million, his partner told planners in Nevada’s Washoe County.

Months later, Fisher pursued permission to develop 38 homes on land not covered by the easement. He showed up at a rural advisory board meeting in July 2019 wearing a cowboy hat and flanked by ranch hands, according to a resident. When pressed, Fisher backed down.

“We have no plans to do anything with that property other than to make it part of the ranch,” Fisher said at the recorded meeting. In the face of stated opposition by planners, he withdrew his application.

The Agee brothers, whose father died in 2009, helped promote some of Fisher’s deals. At the proposed Preserve at Venice Harbor development, $179.8 million in tax deductions were claimed by the 390 investors who chose a conservation easement instead of building homes, court documents show. That was more than four times what they put in.

By 2018, less than two years after the IRS began targeting syndicated easements as tax shelters, Fisher was under investigation, the people with knowledge of the matter say. “You have to be very, very careful that these look like real estate investments as compared to, you know, basically a tax shelter,” Promoter A told an agent posing as an investor, according to the charges against Stein Agee.

Fisher continued to work with the Agees through last year, the people say. In November, Promoter A left a handwritten note for Stein Agee saying he’d been “cleaning up the books,” the charges state. About the same time, a video was uploaded to the Preserve Communities Vimeo account.

Fisher talks about his career while viewers see images of forests, mountains, and rivers, and of Fisher himself sitting on a deck, and then feeding a horse. “I hope the people who live in our communities gain a greater connection to nature, to slow down in life, to realize what’s really important,” he says. “We only have so many years here on the planet, and feeling good about what you’ve done with your life.”

— With assistance by Kaustuv Basu, Neil Weinberg, and Elise Young

By: David Voreacos

Source: Green Tax Break Syndicated Easements Face IRS Scrutiny – Bloomberg

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How To Claim Work Expenses On Your 2021 Taxes

The pandemic has turned many corporate employees into remote workers for the foreseeable future as well as driving layoffs and furloughs. People have had to navigate working from home — and the expenses that came with it if a workspace wasn’t already set up. For now, the most well-known employment-related tax deduction — for home office expenses — is reserved for those who are both self-employed and have a dedicated home space for working.

Read more: Tax return deadline 2021: How to estimate refund, claim stimulus money and more

“We know that there has been an increase in the number of people working from home due to the coronavirus,” Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA, and tax expert with TurboTax said last year. “In general, only those who are self-employed can take deductions for expenses related to working from home.”

Still, there are a handful of other work-related expenses that both corporate employees and the self-employed may be eligible to claim on their taxes. And it’s worth noting that tax laws change from year to year — and it’s quite possible that the IRS will unveil a host of new tax deductions related to COVID-19, and its impact on remote working, some time between now and next April.

For now, here’s a list of the work expenses and deductions that you can presently claim.

Read more: Tax scams can still target you after you’ve filed your taxes. What to know and do

How to claim work expenses on your taxes: Choose a deduction

Before you start going through every line item of every receipt, you may want to save yourself the trouble and figure out which you’ll take: the standard deduction or the itemized deduction.

Standard deduction: The standard deduction is an all-encompassing flat rate, no questions asked. For tax year 2020, the flat rate is $12,400 for single filers and those married filing separately. The rate is $24,800 for married filing jointly. Taking this route is much easier than itemizing.

Itemized deduction: If you want to claim work expenses, medical payments, charitable contributions or other expenses, you’ll use the itemized deduction. It’s more time-consuming than the standardized deduction — and you’ll need proof of the expenses you wish to deduct.

If you’re going to claim and itemize your work expenses, you’ll need to complete Schedule A of Form 1040. You need to have sufficient proof for each itemized expense, which means tracking down receipts. If your standard deduction is greater than the sum of your itemized deductions, save yourself the trouble and take the flat-rate.

Common tax deductions to claim

Before you start adding up all the line-items, make sure you know what’s covered and what isn’t. Here are some of the most common deductions for folks working from home.

1. Home office deduction

Greene-Lewis says that although the home office deduction may be the largest deduction for self-employed people, many are hesitant to take it. The most significant requirement is that the space be reserved for and dedicated entirely to your work.

Read more: Why you can’t claim the home office tax deduction — even after working from home for a year

“Can you deduct a home office if you work at your kitchen table?” she says. “Unfortunately, no. You not only have to be self-employed — but have a dedicated space in your home that is exclusively related to your business. You can’t deduct the space at your kitchen table if your family also eats dinner there.”

If you have a dedicated workspace at home, you can use the IRS regular method or simplified option, though you can’t use a combination of them in a single tax year. Some things that qualify for home office deductions:

  • Insurance: You can deduct a percentage of your home insurance that covers the business space in your home.
  • Utilities: Expenses for utilities, like electricity and gas, can be deducted — but only the percentage used in your home office.
  • Depreciation: If you own your home, you can deduct the cost of wear and tear on the portion used exclusively for business.

All of these calculations are based on the percentage of your home that you use for business. To find the percentage, compare the size of space you use for business to that of your entire home, and then apply the percentage to the specific expenses. For instance, if your home is 1,800 square feet total, and your home office measures 300 square feet, your home office deductions could be applied at a rate of 16%.

Greene-Lewis says that if you take the simplified option, you can deduct $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet, or $1,500 total. This would be an alternative to calculating the various individual home expenses.

2. Travel

Regular commutes from your home to work are considered non-deductible personal expenses. If you have to commute between multiple locations or travel for work, however, some of those costs may be deductible. Flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, meals and tips for service are all considered travel expenses. If a passport is required for your travel, you can claim that as well.

In the past, mileage accrued while driving your own car for business travel was an expense you could claim on your taxes — but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated that for employees. The self-employed and business owners, however, are still eligible for this deduction.

Read more: Best tax software for 2020: TurboTax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and more compared

3. Work uniform

If you have to buy clothes that you only wear for work, you can write off the cost. You can also claim expenses incurred for dry cleaning or laundering work clothes. The deduction cannot exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

4. Continuing education and certifications

In some fields, you can claim the enrollment cost of any required continuing education courses, classes or certifications. You can also deduct professional organization dues and fees — as long as the organization isn’t political. And if you’re a lawyer, you can deduct the price of membership for your state bar or any other similar organization.

If you’re a teacher, the Teacher Education Deduction lets you claim up to $250 of out-of-pocket costs related to teaching supplies. And Green-Lewis says if you and your partner are both teachers, you both can claim the deduction.

Read more: The truth about paying taxes on unemployment checks

5. Supplies

If you own your own business, you can deduct the cost of some business supplies. And the deduction threshold is generous.

“Self-employed business owners can deduct up to $1,020,000 for qualified business equipment like computers, printers and office furniture,” Greene-Lewis says.

Dori Zinn headshot

 

By:

 

Source: How to claim work expenses on your 2021 taxes – CNET

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Can We Claim Medical Expenses on Our Taxes

Extensive series of several doctors with various patients in a medical exam room.

Medical expenses can take a bite out of your budget, especially if you have unforeseen emergencies that are not fully covered by your insurance. The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers some relief, making some of these expenses partly tax-deductible. To take advantage of this tax deduction, you need to know what counts as a medical expense and how to claim the deduction.

Deduction value for medical expenses

In 2020, the IRS allows all taxpayers to deduct the total qualified unreimbursed medical care expenses for the year that exceeds 7.5% of their adjusted gross income.

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is your taxable income minus any adjustments to income such as contributions to a traditional IRA and student loan interest.Your resource on tax filingTax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.Go Now

For example, if you have an adjusted gross income of $45,000 and $5,475 of medical expenses, you would multiply $45,000 by 0.1 (10 percent) to find that only expenses exceeding $4,500 can be deducted. This leaves you with a medical expense deduction of $975 (5,475 – 4,500).

Which medical expenses are deductible?

The IRS allows you to deduct preventative care, treatment, surgeries and dental and vision care as qualifying medical expenses. You can also deduct visits to psychologists and psychiatrists. Prescription medications and appliances such as glasses, contacts, false teeth and hearing aids are also deductible.

The IRS also lets you deduct the expenses that you pay to travel for medical care such as mileage on your car, bus fare and parking fees.

What’s not deductible?

Any medical expenses for which you are reimbursed, such as by your insurance or employer, cannot be deducted. In addition, the IRS generally disallows expenses for cosmetic procedures. You cannot deduct the cost of non-prescription drugs (except insulin) or other purchases for general health such as toothpaste, health club dues, vitamins or diet food, non-prescription nicotine products or medical expenses paid in a different year.

Claiming the medical expenses deduction

To claim the medical expenses deduction, you must itemize your deductions. Itemizing requires that you not take the standard deduction, so you should only claim the medical expenses deduction if your itemized deductions are greater than your standard deduction (TurboTax will do this calculation for you).

If you elect to itemize, you must use IRS Form 1040 to file your taxes and attach Schedule A.

  • On Schedule A, report the total medical expenses you paid during the year on line 1 and your adjusted gross income (from your Form 1040) on line 2.
  • Enter 7.5% of your adjusted gross income on line 3.
  • Enter the difference between your expenses and 7.5% of your adjusted gross income on line 4.
  • The resulting amount on line 4 will be subtracted from your adjusted gross income to reduce your taxable income for the year.
  • If this amount, plus any other itemized deductions you claim, is less than your standard deduction, you should not itemize.

Remember, TurboTax will ask you simple questions about your expenses, tell you which deductions you qualify for, and fill in all the right forms for you.

For more tax tips in 5 minutes or less, subscribe to the Turbo Tips podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and iHeartRadio

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

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